Ending The Drought

May 22nd, 2017

Forecasting end of playoff drought.

It’s been nearly 10-too-long years since the Bucs played a meaningful game in January, a playoff game.

Since, Tampa Bay is now on its fourth coach.

When will it end?

Hopefully, this winter. Marc Sessler of NFL.com agrees. Of all the teams in the Mohave of playoff-less years, Sessler believes the team with the best chance of guzzling water will be the Bucs.

The Buccaneers are for real. If their weakness — the offensive line — can keep Jameis Winston in one piece, Tampa fans should be in for a rowdy campaign. First, the Bucs signed free-agent deep threat DeSean Jackson to pair with Pro Bowl wideout Mike Evans and productive pass catcher Adam Humphries. Then the Bucs watched O.J. Howard, the draft’s top tight end, fall into their lap with the 19th overall pick. He’ll pair nicely with Cameron Brate, who already gave the club a legitimate talent at the position. The Bucs are also raving about the re-emergence of Doug Martin, with general manager Jason Licht telling “Good Morning Football” that the running back has “looked as good as I have seen him.” With a defense that played well down the stretch, Tampa has a chance to be a special story in the NFC.

While this is cool to read, Joe’s just not in the mood now to fight about the offensive line. If folks would rather believe geeks in Ireland in their dorm room than Bucs coaches and their own eyes, that’s fine. … And Joe will walk down the street and talk to dudes with a toy train set to get advice on repairing the electrical system on Joe’s pickup.

Actually, the Bucs’ weakness is the rushing attack. If the Bucs can find someone who can carry the rock 300 times a year and give the Bucs a legitimate threat on the ground, this offense could be scary good.

41 Responses to “Ending The Drought”

  1. JJBucFan Says:

    Can’t rush if there is no blocking, how is it Joe’s “eye test” is so different from most Bucs fans “eye test”? Maybe we should all get second opinions, LOL. I think that the blocking will be much better and the rushing will improve too. Unless of course they start Dotson at RT then we are doomed again. I am hoping one of the kids beats him out. If McNichols can be this years Jordan Howard- watch out NFL. Really wanted D Cook but we couldn’t move up in the second to get him, though I believe that is why Licht was in talks with the Packers. No use in crying now, just hope Joe is wrong about Doug and he comes back fighting for his NFL life.

  2. BartButtplug Says:

    Change the uniforms. So ugly.

  3. Tampa Tony Says:

    Running game should improve by the addition of weapons. OJ Howard should help with the blocking, the threat of DJAX will keep a safety deep, as long as the center isn’t getting blown backwards consistently the run game should be better

  4. Fsuking Says:

    We have a legitimate rushing threat. His name is Doug Martin!

  5. The Buc Realist Says:


    Why do you want a run first team???? Your free-agent/draft wish list added up to a power I formation????? a 300 carry guy??? There was only one last year and that was Ezekiel Elliott!!!! and he was protecting a rookie QB!!!! That is what you get that franchise RB in the first anymore, it to protect a rookie QB or a QB that cannot read progression!!!!!!!! Look up the 4-vert offense and you will get a better idea of what they are doing on offense!!!!!!

  6. tnew Says:

    Not fighting over the starting five but really concerned over the depth. Say what you will about Cherillus but he provided a great service prior to the Dallas game. I don’t see his replacement on the roster, but I am wondering about Clady. Posted this on the Fitz post but this is more appropriate.

    Any chance bringing him in for a physical and a two year deal if he passes? If we wait until someone goes down in OTA’s or preseason his value will go up. At this point he could come in, somewhat mentor D. Smith. He has been an injury waiting to happen as a starter but if not asked to play 16 games he could have some value, and he has to at least believe in his mind he could outplay Dotson.

  7. Rrsrq Says:

    How the weakness is a combination of the rushing attack and the offensive line, last year we know it was the total receiving corps, we have seen the rushing and blocking work in tandem, so Bucs fan know what that looks like, maybe it all comes together and we and the PFF tribe can put it all to bed, this should be more motivation for Warhop, Spencer and Dirk

  8. Buc1987 Says:

    The Buc Realist…correct but he kind of does have a point. If they had a serious threat at RB it would only add another dimension to a powerful O. I get what you’re saying though, as I don’t think running is going to be a priority as much as what we’re used to seeing. The run game SHOULD open up with this kind of firepower anyways.

    Firepower and Tampa Bay? Did I just type that? YES and like I’ve been saying I’m 46 yrs old and I’m confident that I could run the ball for the Buc this season.

    The pass is going to set up the run….the holes WILL be there.

  9. The Buc Realist Says:


    I tried to make that point when some wanted “pay the man” for drug martin. That each year the RB will be less valued and become a plug in play position!!!! I time will come when JW3 will only check into a run when he sees the defense so backed up it will be an easy 5 yards!!!!!! 300 carries LOL!!!!!! what year is this?????????????? maybe we should only rush with only 4 d-lineman and when it does not work ask where is the 10 sack DE!!!!!!!!!!! WHAT YEAR IS IT????????

    Its 2017!!!!! And the Bucs will be playing Up-to-date relevant schemes!!!!! I know some will not be able to understand and will get angry because it is not old buc ball!!!!!! Be just wait until you see the results!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

    GO BUCS!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

  10. Eric Says:

    Bucs fans hate making the playoffs.

  11. RayJameisStadium Says:

    TBR Spot On!!!!

    No more old Bucs folks!!!!

    Welcome to the new and improve Buc Ball. Stick Carriers understand the new era. It’s time to be grateful for Lovie’s gift of Jameis and move on. Lovie came to flush down the toilet the Tampa 2. Welcome Smitty!!!!

    Those of you who want to hold on to the old bucs better get over it before preseason. You might end up in the ER.

    Remember 2002? This year will be the opposite. A solid defense and a BAD A$$ OFFENSE!!!! Running back by committee will add to the confusion for opposing DC.

    Go Bucs!!!

  12. RayJameisStadium Says:

    Eric put down the beer is 10:30 am!!!!!

  13. Pickgrin Says:

    You can say it as often as you like Joe but the Bucs Offensive line play last year left A LOT to be desired. Yes there were other factors. DM and Sims did not run well or with authority. We did not have enough quality receivers that could get separation so Winston had to hold the ball longer on pass plays etc. But stats and the eyeball test of 95% of all Bucs fans who watch this team closely and know what they are looking at say that the OLine looked bad more often than they looked good in 2016 and there was an absolute regression upfront from the previous year.

    The Bucs are for real this year IF the coach and GM are correct about the OLine being better than they played last year. The assumption is that the whole offense including the Oline will be better because of the added weapons. We shall see…

    But you should stop trying to defend the play of last year’s Oline as anything other than what it was – NOT GOOD ENOUGH!!

    We all have eyes Joe. We all watch football Joe. Even Stevie Wonder could see that the Bucs Oline played badly in 2016.

  14. Buc1987 Says:

    Realist…mark me down as one of the ones that wanted to franchise tag Martin. Now he’s essentially franchise tagged with the option of cutting and saving money. Either way it’s a win win right now. If they get 2015 Doug then the NFL is going to have hell to pay. I still don’t trust him though. Not after last season.

    I really HOPE they get “good” Doug back. If only just for this season. You’re right though. These weapons, are going to set up the run. Hell put my grandma out there at rb.

  15. Buc1987 Says:

    I really don’t THINK they need Doug though to do this thing….but I do remember the stacked boxes for the last 4 – 5 years. There was a reason for it. Virtually ONE wr and ONE rb in Doug Martin. That was the O. No QB, no real TE’s. D’s knew how to stop the Bucs. It went through Martin’s legs. Stop him and you stop the Bucs.

    TIMES HAVE CHANGED. Now all we have to do is wait and watch all this come into fruition. I know fans get geeked in the offseason, but this time they have a right to do so.

    I’m not worried about a letdown…..I’m a Bucs fan!

  16. unbelievable Says:

    Geeks in Ireland? lol how about fans that live in the same city, state, or country where the game is played? Oh Joes….

  17. The Buc Realist Says:


    I would love to see some advanced analytics on RB after a 4 or 5 year career, Their production becomes very inconsistent!!!! Even A-Peterson after year 5 is very inconsistent and he will be a first ballot hall of famer (just like Rhonde Barber)!!!!!!

    It might come to a point in the future where you do not sign a RB after there rookie deal unless it is a 1 year league minimum!!!!!!!!!

    Go Bucs!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

  18. The Buc Realist Says:


    Ireland had one of the lowest corporate tax rates in the world!!!!!!!!!

  19. LakeLandBuc Says:

    Actually , The Bucs were the only team in the NFC South considered as ‘in a playoff drought’. In order to make the playoffs, we has to win the NFC South or get one of the two Wild Cards spots. It will be very difficult to over take the Falcons. I think the Saints and Carolina can do it, I’m not sure about us. This is not hating, this is my opinion. Our main problem is playing in the tough NFC South. We could finish 10-6 and still not make the playoffs.

  20. Cobraboy Says:

    Only one back in the NFL had 300+ carries last season, and he had 3 All Pros on his OL.

    Those days are over in the NFL.

  21. Cobraboy Says:

    Buc1987 Says:

    I really don’t THINK they need Doug though to do this thing….but I do remember the stacked boxes for the last 4 – 5 years. There was a reason for it. Virtually ONE wr and ONE rb in Doug Martin. That was the O. No QB, no real TE’s. D’s knew how to stop the Bucs. It went through Martin’s legs. Stop him and you stop the Bucs.

    Thanks to the NFL archives which include coaches film, I just spent several hours Sunday watching every touch Doug Martin had in 2016.

    I charter how many times he was hit behind the line of scrimmage, and the Yards After Contact. My criteria was:

    1) Had to be 1+ yards behind the LOS

    2) Had to make a move or was forced to move around

    3) Could not be a stretch play outside the tackle

    I found that of his 144 rushing attempts in 2016, on 62 of the attempts—43%—he was first hit behind the LOS. Of those 62 hits behind the LOS, he was able to gain back to the LOS or positive yards beyond the LOS 28 times, or 45%. The first stat shows why his overall stats were depressed, and the second stat shows what he made from basically a losing play.

    Not at all defending the guy, but I will say that folks have been too harsh on his on-field performance based on the facts I outlined above.

    Granted, he missed some holes and assignments (as was pointed out by a Joe, the safety in the N.O. Game was because Martin missed a huge hole off tackle when he ran inside instead of outside.)

    There are no excuses for the adderall and no doubt the guy needs to prove himself-and I am confident he will. I did notice in the films I had forgotten that he runs with knees high and elbows flying around, making it hard to bring down with arm tackles.


    1) When Martin was lined up behind the QB under center, the box was stacked 75% of the time. When he was offset with the QB in the shotgun, the box was stacked 25% of downs. He was most effective in an offset formation with the QB in the gun.

    2) The Bucs most effective play-action passes in 2016 are with Martin in the backfield.

    All in all, this may be the deepest backfield I can ever remember on any Bucs roster.

  22. Buc1987 Says:

    Cobra…lol I’m not a stats guy and I don’t watch much film. I go by what I see.

  23. LakeLandBuc Says:

    I’m going on record to say that we have the worst O-Line in the NFC South. It doesn’t matter who we have at RB, they will not make a difference, if we don’t fix this pathetic O-Line.

  24. Stpetebucsfan Says:


    Could you go back to his good year and chart how many times he was hauled down from behind instead of taking it to the house.

    Chart how many TD’s he has….how many did he get from inside the five?

    I haven’t charted that stuff so I don’t know…just going by what it felt like watching him.

  25. Defense Rules Says:

    LakelandBuc, I think the bigger question about our OLine at this point should be “Is it serviceable?” In other words, can it do what the Bucs need it to do consistently game after game? Right now I’d have to answer ‘I don’t know.’ It’s a very young OLine for the most part & leadership is a major question to me at this point. Will Marpet become the OLine leader like Hawley was? IDK. Will Sweezy regain his old self ? IDK. Will Dotson finally cut down on the penalties & play like the beast RT he should be? Again, IDK. Question marks hang over the left side of the OLine in my mind, but … Donovan Smith & Pamphile both have the size & skill to be dominant & potentially show the most promise IMO. If all five of them can get it together they can become dominant, although I’d personally be satisfied with serviceable. But that’s still a big IF.

  26. Cobraboy Says:

    Stpetebucsfan Says:


    Could you go back to his good year and chart how many times he was hauled down from behind instead of taking it to the house.

    Chart how many TD’s he has….how many did he get from inside the five?

    I haven’t charted that stuff so I don’t know…just going by what it felt like watching him.

    I’m not much of a “feels” guy. Well, actually yes, during a game. But I’m more of a “what actually happened” guy after the fact. SAnd that’s the value of the $200 spent on the NFL Game Pass: they archive every game in not just condensed form, but coaches film taken from two different angles: much higher, and from the end zone, with a view of the clock, down and distance between every play. No nonsense, no talking head chatter, just static football.

    And for a RB, I’m more concerned about breaking tackles, YAC and getting 1st downs than being hauled down from behind on big plays. The meat and potatoes, not the sizzle. Yes, Big Plays, “splash plays” are nice for a RB, but grinding it out mano y mano is how football is won.

    I once had an OC who preached that 3.4 yards on a rushing play is a “success,” a variation of “three yards and a cloud of dust.” Grind it out, tire out the D and strike for big plays through the air. Kill the spirit and will of your opponent with a slow death. Make teams fear a physical beatdown. Few feared Ali because he was fast, pretty and cute. All feared Mike Tyson because of the pain.

    I was only concerned with how many times the first contact came from more than a yard behind the LOS. And it was an absurdly high %.

    Reduce that and the YPC increases dramatically, and the Bucs O becomes much more efficient.

    And I suspect I’m not the only one who also saw that particular stat. There is a reason that Marpet is moving to center. I did notice—but didn’t chart it—that Hawley was routinely blown into the backfield. And there is a reason why the Bucs didn’t go after a RB in FA, and why they waited until the 5th round to take a RB with similar skills to Sims, and not one similar to a thumper like Martin.

    Martin needs to up his game, no doubt, and prove himself to be a worthy contributor as we all know he has the potential to be. He needs to prove his pee is as pure as the driven snow. He has a lot to prove to teammates.

    But IMO the whole chatter of “Martin is terrible, a drug addict, cut him” is foolish talk…but makes for good click bait…

  27. LakeLandBuc Says:

    Defense Rules, that’s the point. We really don’t know what we have at O-Line . Last season, we graded as the worst O-Line in the NFC South. And the other teams added good players to their O-Line, through free agency and the draft. But we didn’t add anyone, me personally, I believe our O-Line will be our nemesis.

  28. darin Says:

    Just because weve been buc fans since day one doesnt mean we loved “buc ball”. That was usually a coaches decision because of the personnel we had. The fact the qbs were mostly terrible made it an easier decision. And realist…ask sean payton why he is going back to more of a running offense. Wether you call it run first or pass first youve gota have a balanced attack to succeed. If you think just cuz of the new weapons in the passing game that we arent gona run more than 40 percent of the time youre nuts. Go bucs

  29. Eric Says:

    Winning the Division is also frowned upon.

  30. LakeLandBuc Says:

    darin, I agree with you 100% and this is what Heath Evans had to say about the Saints becoming a more ‘balanced’ offense after leading the NFL in offense in 2016…………………………………………………………………………………………….An in-depth look at that championship season reveals that Payton led the most balanced offensive unit of his tenure in New Orleans, running the ball on 45 percent of snaps and passing 55 percent of the time. This was the best version of the Saints’ offense, with the play calling of Payton, the execution of Brees and the diversity of the backfield. Some might argue the Saints were better statistically in 2011, but we could do anything at any time to any defense in ’09. And winning the Lombardi Trophy proved it. Whereas the ’11 team couldn’t come from behind in the Divisional Round, ending its chances at the franchise’s second title two years later.

    When you look at the way Payton’s 2017 offense has been built this offseason, it’s clear the blueprint is very similar to the ’09 unit — but this time, there’s a first-ballot Hall of Fame-caliber back in the mix. Adrian Peterson, the best running back of the last decade, has joined Mark Ingram in a ground game that ranked 16th in the league a year ago. New Orleans also added promising Tennessee product Alvin Kamara in last month’s draft, creating a new three-headed monster to line up behind Brees, who led the league’s No. 1 total offense and passing offense in 2016.

    As good as the offense was last season, there was a notable lack of balance, with the team throwing on 63 percent of its offensive snaps and running on just 37 percent. This has been consistent with the offensive formula for most of the Payton-Brees era, with New Orleans running the ball on more than 40 percent of snaps just twice in the last 11 seasons — in 2006, when Brees was coming off shoulder surgery, and in ’09.

  31. LakeLandBuc Says:

    This is the reason why the Saints has been 7-9 for the past 3 seasons. Even though they finish 1-2-1 in Total Offense during the last 3 seasons.

  32. Defense Rules Says:

    Cobraboy, very impressive analyses … thank you. And I do suspect that the Bucs coaches saw exactly what you saw in reviewing the film. Other analyses I’ve read indicated that it was actually the Center-Left side that performed the worst in running the ball (although everyone, including myself initially, saw Dots as the culprit). Not so much concerned about Donovan Smith, but rather about Pamphile … still not sure that LG is his optimal position. But that’s where we need him right now, so he needs to step up and perform I guess.

  33. JJBucFan Says:

    St Pete, What does it matter that he got caught at 5 after a 20+ yard run? I agree it was frustrating but how can anyone complain about a long run? The worst part was watching the run-run-pass sequence that immediately followed from Lovie and from Koetter to be fair when we were inside the 10. If we scored more touchdowns after those runs-no one would ever complain about getting caught at the 5 or how he does not have breakaway speed. Everyone knows the fastest guys (football wise) are the DBs and factor in the angles that they take and you get caught eventually. Sure there are guys that can out run but those guys are few and far between.

    BTW the stat you should be looking for is how many penalties- holdings, false starts etc. occurred on the very next play to kill our momentum. And yes if Martin had elite speed he may have scored and we wouldn’t have to run another play, I get it but his teammates certainly could have helped him out more.

    BTW- I am in the medical field and no one goes into rehab for Adderall- just sayin’

  34. Pickgrin Says:

    Great posts Cobraboy. And the stats from your fresh look at DM and the run game last year confirms pretty much exactly what I remember seeing. It was not good. The Oline was playing hard but not getting the job done consistently. DM was running hard but not getting the job done. The run game was not working consistently and we didn’t have enough threats at receiver and TE to keep teams from stacking the box on likely run downs.

    Koetter and Winston were entering the game too many weeks like a boxer entering the ring with one hand tied back. People complain about the “play calling” last year but don’t seem to understand that Koetter had no choice but to scale back when his offense couldn’t even execute simpler plays too often. If your offense and run game in particular are not executing well together – you don’t call more complicated or “daring” plays – that’s a given.

    I expect to see better line play, better play from the QB, better results running the football and a dynamic passing attack in 2017 and think we have the tools to do it. And I believe Doug Martin will be part of that successful mix.

  35. unbelievable Says:


    In 2016, Bucs’ running backs were hit behind the LOS on 24% of all running plays, highest in the league. The fact that DM was hit behind the LOS on an astounding 48% of his carries only further illustrates 2 things:

    1. Our o-line simply wasn’t good enough in the rushing game.

    2. No one was scared of anyone else not named Mike Evans.

  36. Cobraboy Says:

    unbelievable Says:


    In 2016, Bucs’ running backs were hit behind the LOS on 24% of all running plays, highest in the league. The fact that DM was hit behind the LOS on an astounding 48% of his carries only further illustrates 2 things:

    1. Our o-line simply wasn’t good enough in the rushing game.

    2. No one was scared of anyone else not named Mike Evans.


    How many times have we seen Bucs D strategery focus on stopping a dangerous back to make the team one dimensional? Without Martin it was not difficult.

    Do you think anyone was afraid of Jaquizz Rodgers? Charles Sims? Peyton Barber?

    No, they weren’t. Not then, not now.

    I’ll take the premise one step further: The Bucs were 6-2 when Martin played (although he got hurt early in Week 2 vs. AZ) and 3-5 without DM in the line up. In AZ the Bucs became one-dimensional with Winston throwing an astounding 52 times with a QB rating of under 25 (!!!!!) and the Bucs lost!

  37. LakeLandBuc Says:

    Cobraboy, I read those same stats at Football Outsiders…………………………………http://www.footballoutsiders.com/stats/ol

  38. Cobraboy Says:

    @ Lakeland: Thanks for the link. I only counted Martin’s hits behind the line. Not surprised at the net result. If Martin wasn’t in the game, I went to the next play with him in it. The beauty of Game Pass coaches cut is that the play is listed in advance, so I never saw the others.

    It’s interesting to note that the bucs were consistently blown backwards at center, yet ran between guards the most by far. Note how often Atlanta ran outside.

    Here are two screenshots of the N.O. safety. It’s clear that:

    1) Martin took the wrong hole, going inside when there was a clear lane off guard. Note he ducks his head as he runs into Pamphile.

    2) Hawley got schooled, NG penetrated *across* him, blows him up and Hawley end up on the ground.

    3) Pamphile got stood up and pushed back, blowing the play up.

    While Martin didn’t do his job, the OL was poor on that play.

    Look at the hole outside Pamphile, even though Pamphile was stood up: https://tinyurl.com/mslan4j

    Look what Martin did with it. Not good. That safety was uncalled for: https://tinyurl.com/lxu32zl

  39. unbelievable Says:


    Man I was pounding my chest about that stat as well towards the end of last season! (Not trying to do my best Realist impression here, lol.)

    At one point they were 5-1 with DM (the lone loss was the Arizona game where he got injured early), and were 2-5 without him, despite his poor YPC average.

    I look at it like this: When he’s had something to prove, he’s had monster years. Those also happen to be the only seasons he’s stayed healthy. Seems he has something to prove this year, which means we should get big things out of him.

    The only way I don’t see him on the roster is if another back looks really great weeks 1 – 3. Simple as that.

  40. SteelStudBuc Says:

    There will be a highly skilled offensive lineman signed during the roster cuts.

  41. DavidBigBucFan99 Says:

    Martin has more good tape than all the backs on this roster combined. How do you cut a person who even in his inconsistency has produced more in the last 5 years than all the other backs??? If he is healthy he will out produce all of the backs combined. People don’t want to believe who the real source of Dougs problem thst is Defensive Coordinators. They fear his abilities more than any of our other backs. He has given them plenty of reason to do so. So why don’t people see that? If you put down your emotions it just doesn’t make sense.